Who am I talking about? Hypatia of Alexandria, of course. In March of 415 C.E. “she was murdered by a mob of Christians” (for some strange value of “Christians”) according to a well-sourced article in Wikipedia. To see why they… Read More ›
Teaching & Learning
Teachers deserve better.
“Teachers deserve better. They deserve more trust and respect, and less standardized testing, smaller class sizes, and yes, larger paychecks.” So says author Alexandra Robbins in The Teachers: A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession. A well-known long-time New… Read More ›
A language-learning proposal
Continuing to sing the praises of the under-appreciated Helen DeWitt, I must tell you about her language-learning proposal. For a bit of context, I will first tell you about a brief conversational exchange I had with my ninth-graders at Weston… Read More ›
Forming Our Future
Eight months ago I wrote a post about our first attempt at interdisciplinarity at the Crimson Summer Academy. It was a start. Perhaps even a good start, but still no more than a start. This summer we are keeping the… Read More ›
Which trig is which?
A friend of mine claims to have had a bad experience with trigonometry in high school. Is this because she had a bad teacher? (Most people blame their teacher.) Or is it because she was a bad student? Or is… Read More ›
Are you really saying that they mistaught me—not just in one but in two courses in 11th grade?
They taught it once. They taught it twice. They taught it thrice. So, in the well-known (or perhaps no longer so well known) words of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (definitely better known as Lewis Carroll), it must be true: “Just the… Read More ›
“Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things.”
You’ve always wanted to learn the truth about the interaction between numbers and names, haven’t you? James Propp will be your teacher. In this month’s Mathematical Enrichments, he makes this observation: Poincaré once wrote “Mathematics is the art of giving… Read More ›
Keep your language!
Over 97% of Americans are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants—even if some so-called conservatives don’t want to admit it. But many of us who grew up with immigrant parents or grandparents are unable to speak or read the language(s)… Read More ›
Popular culture, math, and computer science
This puzzle comes from mathematical physicist John Baez. That’s John, not Joan (she is not a mathematical physicist, as far as I know), though they are in fact first cousins. You don’t normally expect that a physicist with a Ph.D…. Read More ›
What’s so beautiful about algebra?
“Nothing,” say some of my students. “You can always find the value of x,” say some others. “It’s useful in real life,” says one. “No it isn’t!” says another. By this point we’ve moved far afield from the original question…. Read More ›